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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Why Was Cindy Arrested?

I'm not a political person. But things have been happening that have, frankly, been scaring the bejesus out of me. CNN reports that peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested in the House gallery just before President Bush's State of the Union address.


Because, according to the article, which references Michael Moore's website, Ms. Sheehan's shirt read the following message:

"2,245 Dead. How many more?"

Because of this reference to the Iraq war, she was asked to cover up her shirt. She refused.

For this, she was arrested on the grounds of "unlawful conduct."


The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Apparently, this doesn't apply to the Executive Branch, just the Legislative.

Illegal wire taps.

Outsourcing torture.

And now, arresting American citizens for what they're wearing.

What's next? Thought police?

I'm not a political person. But there comes a time when people must stand up for what they believe. And I believe that what happened to Ms. Sheehan -- among many other things -- was wrong.

Mr. President, you owe us some answers.


At 9:29 AM, Blogger Faith said...

Things like this make one realize what's truly happening to our country.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

It's damn scary, Faith. I just sent letters to my Congressman and to Senators Clinton and Schumer about this imploring them to get to the bottom of this.

I'm appalled, sickened...and pretty damn frightened.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Heather Brewer said...

That's completely insane...and terrifying...and frustrating.

Thanks for the heads up, Jax.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

You're welcome, Heather. Spread the word.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Faith said...

I wrote to Ohio's congressman once over a matter I encountered. He replied with a personal letter and referred the problem to our state representative, so writing letters does work.

At 3:45 AM, Blogger Rabe said...

Just as a matter of making sure that all things are shown, a congressman's wife was also asked to leave or be arrested at the same time. She wore a shirt that was reading "Support the Troops: Defending our Freedom".

She choose to leave.

Apparently it's not a 'law' but a policy to prevent protesting, picketing or other forms of 'obtrusiveness'. The Chief of the Capitol Police today issued an apology and also made sure that the charges were dropped.

And as much as I may agree with Ms. Sheehan's viewpoint, I'm wondering anymore if some of what she's doing isn't a bit too blown out of proportion in order to further a political agenda.

Now, don't get me wrong...nobody out there agrees with the complete illegitimacy of this presidency more than I, but I still have my doubts.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger RyanBruner said...

Don't hold this against the president. He isn't the one responsible for making her leave. The one who is, however, apologized. http://www.sltrib.com/nationworld/ci_3470923

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

Fair enough, Rabe and Ryan. Rabe, I do suspect that there was a political agenda involved...and, to be completely fair, I thought that what she did after this event was unpalatable.

But my point was that the message itself on the shirt -- as well as on the wife of the Congressman -- was enough to warrent arrest. Not just "making her leave" -- flat out arrest. Yes, the charges were dropped a few days later and an apology was issued. Does that make what happened acceptable?

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jackie, I do not think anyone is infringing on Cindy's freedom of speech here. She has had, and continues to have, plenty to say about what happened that day and the political interests she represents. But free speech doesn't mean you can shout "fire" in a crowded building, or ignore rules you've agreed to obey.

If you or anyone else on Backspace chose to become abusive, or started stalking people in the forums, or started threatening other writers there, you'd be kicked out, and with good reason: it's not appropriate. We agreed, in joining the forum, not to do such things. In the cases of Cindy and the Republican Representative's wife, they violated the clearly laid out agreement they'd signed onto when they agreed to go to the event, and so they were thrown out.

From Cindy's actions afterward, it's become pretty clear she was trying to get the media to focus on herself, and not the address. Whether or not I agree with what the president has to say, the state of the union address is not the place for a demonstration.

I wish, actually, we'd go back to the way the address used to be done: a letter sent to Congress, published in the newspapers the next day. No speech, no film, no media filters, no political parties or activists. Just the words.


At 2:47 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

Josh, I do see your point. But she wasn't just asked to leave. She was arrested. Isn't that crossing the line? Was the congressman's wife arrested?

>> From Cindy's actions afterward, it's become pretty clear she was trying to get the media to focus on herself, and not the address.

Sadly, I must agree with you on this one.

It looks like there are no innocent bystanders anymore. Everyone has an agenda.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Rabe said...

First to "Anonymous":

You wrote:

If you or anyone else on Backspace chose to become abusive, or started stalking people in the forums, or started threatening other writers there, you'd be kicked out, and with good reason: it's not appropriate.

Bad example here. Backspace is a private function and not a governmental function, the Constitutional freedoms - believe it or not - ONLY apply to to the government and its employees. Like me. However, should I have a forum then I can censor and kick off all I wish! This is one reason why the Boy Scouts can be an ignorant prejudicial organization despite all the financial gain it gets from the government.

Second to Jackie:

I think what's being forgotten here is that Cindy wasn't arrested outright for her t-shirt. She was arrested *after* she was asked to either cover it up or leave and she refused to do both. At which point it becomes 'trespassing' or 'disturbing the peace'. The Congressional wife choose to leave the forum and therefore complied with the directives given and was not arrested.

As much as I may agree with what Cindy was saying...I disagree with abusing the facts of what happened in order to be seen as a victim and to create a spotlight for her political ambitions.



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